November 30th, 2010 21:21 EST
Are We in Afghanistan to Catch Bin Laden Or to Make Somebody Richer?
What are we really there for?
George Washington knew that in a conventional clash of armies the British would defeat the American rebels hands down. That`s why he chose a war of attrition. The British had enemies elsewhere. In time they decided they couldn`t afford the war.
This is exactly the strategy the Taliban and their Pakistani allies are pursuing in Afghanistan. With the same result. Like the British generals in North America, our generals keep asking for more troops, more materiel and more time. But victory remains as elusive as Osama bin Laden.
We too have enemies elsewhere, and responsibilities. We too have a horrific national debt. If we have learned anything, we have learned how much we admire our former enemy, the British, and their mistakes.
I am sure our military thinkers think comparison with George III and his generals is invidious and misleading, but it`s nonetheless too obvious to ignore.
But what if our reasons for this war lie elsewhere? What if feeding the beast is our real purpose, not finding Bin Laden or depriving Al Qaeda of a base? What if those goals are collateral, while the war is in reality pursued to feed the banks and defense contractors? Not to mention Afghanistan`s opium production and little noted but fabulous deposits of emeralds and rare metals.
Isn`t business a far more plausible explanation? After all, Bin Laden and his Taliban pals put nothing in the pockets of our politicians, but the banks and the contractors do. It doesn`t take an incorrigible conspiracy theorist to lean towards the feeding-the-beast explanation.
But that being the case, why haven`t the smart-alecky pundits and tediously self-righteous mainstream media not explored this notion? Could it be because they, like the politicians, are major beneficiaries of the beast`s largesse?
Isn`t it more likely that money trumps national security when it comes to making the same mistake over and over with the same result? Such flapdoodle behavior provides us one of the definitions of insanity, so if the politicians are not nuts perhaps they`re merely greedy and corrupt.
Our leaders seem to gravitate towards corruption with suspicious regularity. Two generals in a row in Afghanistan, Stanley A. McChrystal and David H. Petraeus, fell victim to a shopkeeper pretending to be a high-ranking Taliban emissary. Our tax money was lavished on him in the very same way it is lavished on banks and defense contractors. Now why is that not sufficient reason for the endlessly loquacious media to investigate? It`s a rhetorical question. It would be like investigating their own house. War is not treated as business as usual by the media for the same reason as their failure to examine the sub-prime mortgage phenomenon before it was too late: the media fed at the troughs of the engineers of the crisis.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com